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FaZe Clan Defeat NAVI to Win IEM Cologne in Thrilling Five-Map Grand Finals

Zakaria Almughrabi

IEM Cologne 2022 has come to its thrilling conclusion. After five long maps and some of the highest level CS:GO ever played, FaZe Clan win the IEM Cologne trophy over Natus Vincere. The world number one now goes into the summer player break having won the three biggest trophies of the Counter-Strike calendar year, and being one IEM trophy away from a Grand Slam.

FaZe win IEM Cologne

FaZe Clan have won the IEM Cologne trophy after a crazy five-map series. (Image Copyright: ESL | Helena Kristansson)

An Undefeated Start

FaZe Clan came into IEM Cologne as the number one ranked team. They showed their prowess immediately in the Group Stage by sweeping every match. 00 Nation, Team Spirit, and Astralis all fell victim as FaZe claimed first seed and a first-round playoff bye. FaZe continued that domination in semifinals, sweeping the upstart Movistar Riders.

Now, the stage was set for a Grand Finals matchup of dreams. The other side of the bracket was conquered by NAVI, the second ranked team in the world and the only ones who looked like they could contest FaZe. Little did we know, this upcoming match would turn into one of, if not the best CS:GO match ever played.


Opening on the Right Foot

The IEM Cologne Grand Finals would kick off with FaZe’s pick of Inferno. Despite winning pistol and getting out to a 5-0 lead. NAVI would quickly come roaring back. The CIS squad’s CT site was nearly indomitable, winning nine of the final 10 rounds of the half. Although FaZe won the second pistol as well, NAVI’s first buy was able to open up the scoring.

Now at an 8-12 deficit, FaZe went to work on the defense. They brought the score back to even at 12 apiece. In round 25, NAVI earned themselves a man advantage and were looking to push into the B bombsite. However, a key flank by Helvijs “broky” Saukants allowed him to single handedly wipe NAVI. From there, FaZe won all but one of the remaining rounds to take map one 16-13.


Playing from Behind

NAVI’s Overpass pick was tight in the early stages. They started on the T side and earned a narrow 8-7 half time lead. FaZe won both pistol rounds again which bought them an 11-8 lead at largest. However, NAVI was incredibly prepared for what was an unexpected first map pick. Despite receiving a back breaking clutch from Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken, NAVI recovered and put up a wall on CT side to stunt FaZe. A 16-13 equalizer was the result.

Now the teams headed to FaZe’s Ancient. The newest map in the competitive rotation proved very difficult for FaZe early on. The stonewall of a NAVI defense took advantage of the heavy CT bias to hold FaZe to just three rounds in the first half. After NAVI won the second pistol, they had a 15-4 lead. It would take a gargantuan effort to get their own map pick to overtime, and that’s exactly what FaZe managed. Eleven whole rounds in a row went to the home side, resetting the score for a thirty first round.

Unfortunately for FaZe, they could not complete the near-impossible comeback. NAVI was able to flip the script on their T side in OT, taking two rounds instantly. FaZe’s T side fell short once again, leading to NAVI stealing the map and earning championship point.


Going the Distance

With their map now in the hands of NAVI, FaZe needed to take Mirage in order to keep their Cologne dreams alive. A third consecutive pistol round win gave NAVI a 3-0 start. However, FaZe were fully prepared for the onslaught. Four FaZe players broke a 1.30 rating on their CT side on the way to a 10-5 half time lead.

For the first time all series, NAVI’s CT side couldn’t stack up. The second half lasted just 10 rounds with FaZe getting a bomb plant in eight of them. Even when NAVI stacked the right side of the map, they couldn’t make it work. The result was FaZe taking the most decisive map of the series, a 16-9, to take it to a fifth map.


FaZe Finalize the Title

Nuke was the final battleground at IEM Cologne. NAVI’s T side began with a bang as they won the pistol and first gun round. After their 5-0 start, FaZe fired back to win six of seven. The final four rounds of the half were traded back and forth, leading to an 8-7 lead for NAVI. With Nuke being a very CT sided map, FaZe had an uphill battle awaiting.

Their climb started smoothly, as FaZe again won six of seven rounds off of their fourth T side pistol win of the series. Their 13th round was solidified by yet another amazing clutch out of Twistzz. NAVI would not go quietly however. Their defense stepped up and won the next five in a row. With a 14-13 score for NAVI, FaZe needed a reply.

That reply came in the form of Twistzz once again. The Canadian rifler jumped over mini in two consecutive rounds, finding a double entry into the A site both times. Now on match point, FaZe easily dispelled NAVI’s cobbled-together buy to end it. The five-map final ended with a 16-14, crowing FaZe Clan the IEM Cologne 2022 champions.

With this victory, FaZe are the undisputed best CS:GO team in the world. They now go into the player break with the IEM Katowice, PGL Antwerp Major, and IEM Cologne trophies to their name. This Triple Crown achievement can only be topped by winning the second Major of the year, as well as the Intel Grand Slam once play resumes. Now, FaZe has an era on their hands, and they’ll be raring to solidify it soon.